The sessions court on Tuesday acquitted Lyari gang war kingpin Uzair Baloch in the kidnapping and murder case of a citizen for want of evidence. Uzair has been accused of committing 198 murders during the Lyari gang war and was arrested by the Rangers on January 30, 2016. In April 2017, his custody was handed over to the Pakistan Army after he was accused of espionage. The Army handed him over to the police on April 6, 2020, after three years.
It is important to recall that Uzair Baloch has been acquitted in four cases of heinous crimes in the last week.
The defence lawyer said that no eyewitness appeared before the court, while the prosecution was silent over the culprits involved in the murder. “The police found the dead body and didn’t identify the slain person,” the counsel said.
“The murder took place in Kalri area on March 13, 2013, while the case was registered on March 17,” Uzair Baloch’s lawyer said. “Police nominated my client in the case on political grounds, who didn’t commit it,” the counsel said.
“My client was nominated in murder case over the statement of a police official, who was not present at the crime scene,” lawyer further said.
The witness policeman recorded his statement to the investigation officer but failed to appear before the court as witness, the defence lawyer said.
“Deceased Noshad was abducted from Chakiwara area and was kept at a cell where Uzair Baloch and other accused were present,” according to the prosecution’s charge sheet. “Uzair Baloch ordered his men for killing the victim,” prosecution stated.
An anti-terrorism court had earlier accepted an application moved by the accused seeking his acquittal in the two other cases related to attempt to murder and police encounter registered at Kalakot and Chakiwara police stations.
The court exonerated him from all charges in these two cases after the prosecution side failed to produce any evidence against him.
Links with PPP
Uzair Baloch’s controversial links to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party in Sindh have time and again made rounds on national media. While the PPP has categorically denied all such reports, their connection has been supported by pictures and videos.
— Hassaan Niazi (@HniaziISF) December 29, 2014
Earlier, a video footage had surfaced which showed former Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, following his post-election oath-taking ceremony, going to a dinner party organized by Uzair Baloch. He was also joined by other PPP leaders, such as Sharmeela Faruqi, Shehla Raza, Faryal Talpur, and Saeed Ghani.
Yet, the party leaders have denied their affiliation with the gangster. In an interview on May 20, 2015, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari told Geo News senior journalist Hamid Mir that “Uzair Baloch was never a part of the PPP”.
Similarly, other party leaders such as Maula Bux Chandio, Khursheed Shah and Nisar Khuhro have also denied any links with him.
Orders directly received from PPP leaders
As Uzair Baloch was arrested by the authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) back in 2014-15, sources claim that notorious Lyari gangster Baloch had told UAE authorities that he had committed murders allegedly on the orders of PPP leadership, including its Co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari among others.
Baloch also reportedly claimed that he was in direct contact with the PPP leadership and that he had carried out targeted killings in the city on the orders of PPP leaders. Some of these orders, he claimed, came directly from the PPP co-chairman, former Sindh home minister Zulfiqar Mirza, incumbent Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon and even PPP leader Owais Muzaffar Tappi.
Lyari: a stronghold of a former PPP’s supporter and PPP?
According to a report in The Nation, PPP has been using the gangsters to achieve political objectives in Sindh. The report alleges that the PPP leadership had awarded the party tickets to the gangsters nominated by Lyari gangs kingpin Uzair Jan Baloch.
It also claims that the organized gangs were established in early 2000, and Lyari divided in between the two main gangsters including Arshad alias Papu gang led by Commander Ghaffar Zikri and Rehman alias Dakait gang with operational commander Noor Muhammad alias Baba Ladla.
The armed clashes continued in the locality since 2008, between the gangs of Arshad Papu and Rehman Dakait but since the PPP government come to power took the gangsters on board to make Lyari PPP stronghold.
The report revealed that Lyari remains a stronghold area of the PPP since the 1970s and the PPP had no need to adopt the gangsters to win 2008 general elections but got seats from Lyari with the support of Rehman Dakait.
PPP came into power while some PPP high ups trying to use gangsters as an army to give a tough time to the rival political parties as renamed the gangs as People Amman Committee (PAC). Later on, the PAC was banned.
Read More: Zardari about to lose his fortune?
Analysts believe that Pakistan’s broken criminal justice system is generally unable to convict any powerful person involved in corruption or terrorism. It is yet to be seen as to how do the government and opposition react to the report prepared by the JIT against a former PPP’s supporter.